Casa Cubista was founded in 2016 by David Pimentel and Arren Williams. The couple were taking a sabbatical from their hectic lives in Toronto, Canada, spending time in Southern Portugal. During their sojourn getting to know their new home, David and Arren fell in love with some of Portugal’s unique, centuries-old crafts that were still being produced by artisans in traditional ways, from readily available local materials. Through a combination of their understanding of a more international and contemporary aesthetic and a deep appreciation for the skills of the craftspeople that they met, the pair worked to create beautiful variations on age-old designs, creating a collection that would share these handcrafted pieces with a wider audience. Now Casa Cubista’s signature ceramics, textiles, wood and furniture designs can be seen around the globe in some of the most well-respected shops (Liberty, Le Bon Marché, Selfridges, Saudade, Merci), as well as featured in world-leading design publications (Monocle, Living etc, Elle, Vogue, Design Milk). The brand’s name comes from the unusual whitewashed and tiled cubist style of buildings found in the alleys and streets of Olhão, a bustling fishing port where they settled, and ensures that however far these products travel, they will always have the Portuguese creative and craft traditions at their heart.
Casa Cubista and our key values:
- Natural materials
- Minimal waste, pollutants and emissions
- Conserving traditions
How did Casa Cubista begin?
It began as a happy accident while we were living in Portugal on sabbatical. Interior designer friends introduced us to a brother and sister who produced tiles in the same way as they had been made in the 17th century and we collaborated with them on a more modern colour palette. From there we painted our first ceramic patterns and then met a potter who could make them for us. It wasn't long after that that the collection was picked up by Le Bon Marché.
What are the three things about your business that make your heart sing?
It really is the people! We work so closely with such talented craftspeople that they've become like family. Secondly, seeing new designs transformed from an idea on paper to an actual piece that you can hold. And thirdly, we love seeing how people actually use the pieces in their own homes!
What are the key sustainable and ethical elements of Casa Cubista?
While Casa Cubista's ethos is a contemporary take on traditional Portuguese craft, we work with simple, honest materials. With Plum & Belle we're proud to present our handwoven linen towels, handmade chestnut wood candleholders and recycled cotton rugs and pillows. These items embrace key values of craftsmanship and tradition, repurpose recycled materials in many cases, and are all made with materials that are sourced within the locality of the various craftspeople, supporting the local community as well as minimising the journey any elements take before becoming a finished Casa Cubista product.
Do you have a signature product, something that really sums up what your brand is about?
While our signature product might be our classic striped jug, really the signature of our products is the fact that you should be able to pick up a piece and feel the story behind it.
What about Plum & Belle feels like it has particular synergy with your brand?
We love Plum & Belle's sustainable point of view. It's a perfect fit with our slow craft and slow design perspective.
What are your future aims for Casa Cubista?
Honestly, to take it slowly, building relationships and collaborating on new designs.